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Business Resources for Product-Based Makers

As I've grown my illustration business over the years, I've tested out and evolved which apps and business resources I rely on as a product-based maker. Here are the different resources and apps I use to run my product-based business. 

Credit Card Reader and Invoicing

Square

I use Square for credit card payments at craft shows, as well as for invoicing my wholesale customers. It's easy to use and has been reliable even when I don't have access to wifi, particularly with the chip reader. You can receive free processing on up to $1,000 in sales over the next 180 days by signing up at this link: Get Square now.  

Accounting

QuickBooks Self-Employed

I've tried out a few different options for online accounting, and I've been pretty happy with making the switch to QuickBooks. The dashboard is easy to see an overview of my profit and loss for the year, and I use the app daily to stay up to date on my transactions. It also estimates my quarterly tax payments for me, which is something I'd been looking for. In the future, I might want to upgrade to a higher price point of QuickBooks accounting in order to be able to track inventory and COGS, but for now this version has been working great. You can receive 50% off your first twelve months of using it with this link: QuickBooks Self-Employed

Website

Shopify

I recently made the switch from Squarespace to Shopify because I found that, while Squarespace was a good beginning point for me to build a website, it didn't have all of the features and functionality that I wanted from an online shop. Shopify is much more robust in its back-end options for e-commerce. I can create automated product collections, sell my products directly from Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook, and have more flexibility in the apps and visual themes to amplify my branding. I'd recommend Shopify for makers and product shops. 

Email Marketing

MailChimp 

I started out on MailChimp because it's free to sign up and easy to incorporate images for my products. Now that I'm using Shopify, I'm grateful for it even more because of all the integrations that work so easily with my website. I can create automated abandoned cart reminder emails, smart pop-ups to invite customers to sign up for my list, and more. If you don't already have a mailing list service, I definitely recommend signing up for Mailchimp.

Instagram Scheduling

Later

Using Later is the main factor that allows me to use Instagram in a focused and strategic manner, and it helps me to plan out my feed to market upcoming events, new collections and pre-holiday launches. I've tried out several different social media scheduling apps and this is the only one I've stuck with due to its ease of use. It's also the one app I recommend for maintaining consistency in posting, even during the holiday rush. Although the free version of Later usually allows you to schedule 30 posts per month, you can receive an extra 10 posts by signing up at this link: Get Later now.

To learn more about how I use Instagram as an artist-run product-based business, read my post on 6 Instagram Tips for Your Product-Based Business.

Bonus: Best book about business finance

Profit First

The best business book I've read about business finance and accounting is Profit First by Mike Michalowicz. I can't recommend this book enough! It's fun to read, super practical, and I was able to immediately make changes to how I set up my business finances that took any stress or worry out of how I manage my business budget, savings and salary. 

 

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